Lithuanian Labor Leaders Jailed for Accounting Fraud, BNS Says

A Lithuanian court imposed prison sentences on two leaders of Lithuania’s Labor Party, part of the ruling coalition, after finding them guilty of fraud, the Baltic News Service reported, citing a ruling in the capital, Vilnius.

Viktor Uspaskich, who founded the Labor Party and heads its parliamentary faction, was handed a four-year sentence and Vitalija Vonzutaite of the budget and finance committee was given three years, BNS reported. First Deputy Speaker Vytautas Gapsys was fined 35,700 litai ($13,500), according to the news service. All three deny wrongdoing.

The court judgment relates to accounting practices perpetrated between 2004 and 2006, according to BNS. Uspaskich, a Russian born entrepreneur, said he’d appeal the verdict in remarks broadcast on LRT Radijas after the ruling.

The Labor Party, which together with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius’s Social Democrats and two other parties formed a government after October elections, has a 29-member faction in the Baltic nation’s 141-seat parliament. The ruling won’t affect government operations, Butkevicius told LRT Radijas.

Parliament revoked the three politicians’ immunity from prosecution in December to allow the fraud case to proceed. Uspaskich and Vonzutaite will remain free until the appeals process has been exhausted, according to BNS.

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